McMullen makes perfect start to title defence

The Island's Gertie McMullen

The Island's Gertie McMullen got her title defence off to the perfect start when she fired a one over 74 to share the first round lead in the Irish Senior Women’s Open Strokeplay at Dundalk.

McMullen had one birdie and two bogeys on her card to end the day tied for the lead with The Heath’s Catherine Reilly.

Local favourite Ita Donnelly, a seven handicapper, punched well above her weight to lie joint third overnight with an impressive 75 that was matched only by 2011 and 2012 champion Minna Kaarnalahti from Finland.

Grange's Sheena McElroy is alone in fifth after a 76 with Irish international Suzanne Corcoran of Portumna lurking on 77 alongside Dun Laoghaire's Niamh Giblin, Mallow's Mary Dowling and England's Gabi Heuchel.

With seven players within three shots of the lead entering the last 36 holes on Thursday and Friday, an exciting finish looks likely.

As for the Nations Cup, the Ireland A trio of McMullen, McElroy and Pat Doran (80) leads by four from Ireland B's — Suzanne Corcoran (77), Mary Dowling (77) and Helen Jones [80] — Canada and the USA.

Irish Senior Women’s Open Strokeplay at Dundalk (Par 73).

First round (SSS 74 CSS 74)

74 Gertie McMullen (The Island) Catherine Reilly (The Heath)

75 Ita Donnelly (Dundalk) Minna Kaarnalahti (FIN)

76 Sheena McElroy (Grange)

77 Gabi Heuchel (ENG) Niamh Giblin (Dun Laoghaire) Suzanne Corcoran (Portumna) Mary Dowling (Mallow)

78 Alison Murdoch (CAN)

80 Helen Jones (Royal Portrush) Ruth Maguire (Corrstown) Pat Doran (Donabate) Mary MacLaren (Royal Portrush)

82 Georgia McCravey (USA) Nancy Beck (USA) Kate Evans (RCD Ladies)

83 Gill Rouiller (Mannan Castle) Pauline Walsh (Headfort) Kay McCartan (Greenore) Anne Ferguson (Ogbourne Downs) Diane Williams (CAN) Becky Neal (USA)

84 Evelyn Blackmon (USA) Marilyn Henderson (Royal Belfast)

85 Paula Murray (Naas)

86 Vivienne Houston (City of Derry) Mary McGoey (Greenore) Leslie Olive Henry (USA)

87 Joan Curran (Laytown & Bettystown) Manja Reef (NED) Wanda Mochtar (NED) Iet Hagels (NED)

88 Valerie Hassett (Ennis) Mary Feenan (CAN)

89 Valerie Shannon (Lahinch) Judy Collins (CAN) Grainne O'Connor (Skerries)

90 Linda Evers (USA)

91 Ada Vrolijk (NED) Ann McAuley (Laytown & Bettystown)

93 Pamela Williamson (SCO) Elizabeth Neville (Bearna)

94 Patricia Black (Headfort) Helen Thornton (Ardee)

98 Nancy Jackson (USA)

NATION CUP (2 scores from 3 to count each round)

150 IRELAND A Pat Doran [80] Sheena McElroy 76 Gertie McMullen 74

154 IRELAND B Suzanne Corcoran 77 Mary Dowling 77  Helen Jones [80]

161 CANADA A Alison Murdoch 78 Diane Williams 83

165 USA A Nancy Beck 82 Leslie Olive Henry [86] Becky Neal 83

166 USA B Evelyn Blackmon 84 Linda Evers [90] Georgia McCravey 82

174 NETHERLANDS A Iet Hagels 87 Wanda Mochtar 87

177 CANADA B Judy Collins 89 Mary Feenan 88

178 NETHERLANDS B Manja Reef 87 Ada Vrolijk 91


  1. 08:40 Grainne O'Connor (Skerries) Mary McGoey (Greenore)
  2. 08:50 Kay McCartan (Greenore) Ita Donnelly (Dundalk)
  3. 09:00 Georgia McCravey (USA) Marilyn Henderson (Royal Belfast) Ruth Maguire (Corrstown)
  4. 09:10 Iet Hagels (NED) Mary Feenan (CAN) Valerie Hassett (Ennis)
  5. 09:20 Evelyn Blackmon (USA) Judy Collins (CAN) Helen Jones (Royal Portrush)
  6. 09:30 Gabi Heuchel (ENG) Manja Reef (NED) Gill Rouiller (Mannan Castle)
  7. 09:40 Wanda Mochtar (NED) Vivienne Houston (City of Derry) Ada Vrolijk (NED) 
  8. 09:50 Elizabeth Neville (Bearna) Helen Thornton (Ardee) Patricia Black (Headfort)
  9. 10:10 Joan Curran (Laytown & Bettystown) Paula Murray (Naas) Linda Evers (USA)
  10. 10:20 Pamela Williamson (SCO) Anne Ferguson (Ogbourne Downs) Niamh Giblin (Dun Laoghaire)
  11. 10:30 Ann McAuley (Laytown & Bettystown) Mary Dowling (Mallow) Nancy Jackson (USA)
  12. 10:40 Suzanne Corcoran (Portumna) Nancy Beck (USA) Minna Kaarnalahti (FIN)
  13. 10:50 Becky Neal (USA) Sheena McElroy (Grange) Alison Murdoch (CAN)
  14. 11:00 Kate Evans (RCD Ladies) Pat Doran (Donabate) Pauline Walsh (Headfort)
  15. 11:10 Mary MacLaren (Royal Portrush) Diane Williams (CAN) Valerie Shannon (Lahinch)
  16. 11:20 Gertie McMullen (The Island) Leslie Olive Henry (USA) Catherine Reilly (The Heath)